Bigg Boss takes over the airwaves the moment it hits the television screen. Some might debate this, but there is no denying that this is what the Hindi Speaking Market (HSM) loves to watch and where the advertisers dish out plenty.
Raj Nayak, chief operating officer, Viacom18, did not have any qualms in saying, "Bigg Boss is the most expensive television show produced in India," And is the sponsorship revenue Bigg Boss generates the highest in the industry too? "Yes, after cricket it's Bigg Boss. All our renewals have seen an increase of 12-15 percent. The ad rates this year have been a little subdued, not what we would have expected," he follows.
Bigg Boss has retained Appy Fizz as the 'presenting' sponsor and Oppo as the 'powered by' sponsor. CP Plus, which was associated last season, has redefined its association this year and is now called 'Intelligently secured by CP Plus'. "This demonstrates the power of Bigg Boss; we retain all our sponsors and we retain our viewers. Bigg Boss viewers come back year after year," asserts Nayak.
The television universe has expanded and rural India has significant representation in the sampling size. Many said the inclusion of commoners was to target the rural audience and get them into the show. Nayak denies any such planning, he says, "Our expansion (inclusion of commoners) has nothing to do with the expansion of BARC India. Globally, Bigg Boss is done with commoners; in India we were doing it with celebrities. Celebrity costs were going up, so last year we decided to include commoners to bring the cost down. It worked so well for us that we decided to stick to it this year."
Big Brother is done all over the world and Endemol, which owns the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) of the show, executes the production everywhere. Where does the Indian version stand compared to others? "The budgets are not comparable; they talk different mathematical arrangements. Having said so, the production quality will match a Big Brother US, UK or anywhere else. Also, I would like to say that because we do separate shows for Kannada, Bangla, Telugu, and Tamil markets, India is like the European market for us. So when they say they have Big Brother UK or Spanish or any other, we too can throw our numbers," says Deepak Dhar, managing director and CEO, Endemol Shine India.
What is the big difference? "Well India is a single TV household and it's a general entertainment show over here. It needs to be a family oriented show and cannot be too risky; it cannot have sexual connotations; the controversies have to be limited otherwise it will alienate our audiences," asserts Dhar.
"The TG of Bigg Boss is very similar to the TG of Appy Fizz and that is the biggest reason why Parle Agro decided to re-associate with the show," says Nadia Chauhan, joint managing director and chief marketing officer, Parle Agro. "Also, Bigg Boss is a very deeply penetrated show and our ambition with Fizz is to take the brand deeper and build a much larger consumer base. That's where Bigg Boss plays a vital role for us," she adds.
Parle Agro analysed various parameters before associating with the show and how Bigg Boss as a brand emerged throughout the season was one of them. "We analysed if the show delivered on its commitments such as brand integrations, the overall branding that we are driving through the show itself and obviously, the ratings," informs Chauhan.
Oppo does research every year to identify popular shows that it would like to associate with. Bigg Boss was number one on the list this year too which is why the China based smartphone manufacturing company decided to re-associate with the show as a part of its localising strategy.
"What got Bigg Boss to the number one position on Oppo's list..." Will Yang, brand director, Oppo mobiles India informs, "...is based on three aspects - one, the third party (BARC) data - we observe the ratings carefully. Then comes the production quality of the show; and after that we study the social media buzz - how much are the people talking about the show. Bigg Boss tops all these parameters and hence, it's the number one show."
Viacom18 recently promoted Raj Nayak as COO of the group, so is the new Viacom18 COO less involved in Colors there days? "The answer is 'yes'," says Nayak, "It's also because over a period of time we have built a very strong creative team, so the scenario is, I am the face while they do all the work."
"Bigg Boss is a unique format that delivers - I'm not too sure about bottomlines, but it gives us good toplines. So long as it delivers, we'll continue to do it," concludes Nayak.